Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Battleship (2012)

“Prepare to fire.”

Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker and Liam Neeson
Writers: Erich Hoeber and Jon Hoeber

Damn it you sunk my Battleship! Well at least I hoped to hear those words being uttered by Liam Neeson. It was a small hope, but honestly I had very little expectations going into this movie. Not wholly sure what kind of plot can be formulated from a game, and a pretty simple game at that. I still wait with baited breath for the Monopoly movie. Any I digress a little, time to get back on track and sink this thing.

I’ve been known to love cheesy movies, in fact I can’t get enough of Armageddon, but there are levels of cheesiness that even get too much for me. Most cheesy movies try and manipulate your emotions in the broadest of ways, heroic sacrifice, underdog overcoming the odds. You can watch stuff like Independence Day and many disaster movies to recognise the cliché beats of a cheesy movie plot. It really all comes down to how the movie is manipulating you. Most emotional manipulations can come from the situations, but those that come from characters are often so blatant they can destroy the pleasure in watching the movie. A good example of this is characters being overly patriotic in their celebrations because they all come from the same country, rather than just celebrating because they all lived.

This all seems like a long way to get to the point that Battleship is a cheesy movie, but it veers into some of the more insulting emotional manipulations that really hurt the movie. There seems like a desperate drive to manipulate the audience’s emotions even if they have to go to the extremes, and it’s a gigantic shame as there are some good things in this movie, things that could have made it a really fun summer popcorn movie that overcame its board game stigma.

Visually the movie gives you your monies worth, and actually makes sure to really show you the effects. I can’t say the 3D added anything but it’s certainly not the worst use of the technology. There’s not much to go on about with this movie as there is no real style to it all, it just wants to get from point A to point B, show you the pretty pictures and make you cheer at the set pieces. Part of me wishes I could go into detail but even after only a few days the memories of the movie are starting to fade.

Acting wise I can’t really say anyone was bad. In fact Taylor Kitsch was pretty good as Alex Hooper and really played the more comedic elements well. Also Alexander Skarsgard was endearing with the small screen time he had as Stone Hopper. The real problem for the actors was the schizophrenic tone of the movie. It never really allowed them to get a rhythm with their characters. Oh and while I love Liam Neeson, he never said the line, and he hardly appears in the movie. Boo I say. Boo.

The movie is blatant in its attempts to get a rise out of the audiences, and this hurts the great cast. Visually the movie lends itself to being a fun popcorn film and in some cases it can be. It really comes down to your own personal tolerance. Take a look at the trailer and if you feel like you could have some fun then go for it, otherwise just avoid it as I doubt you’ll find anything for you.

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